LagosMums loves to meet with different mothers to talk about their parenting journey and how they balance their various roles. In our first Mum of the Month feature of 2018, LagosMums interviewed Osayi Alile as she shared her unique perspectives on motherhood and her passion to develop the potential of the future generations. She is also an amazing supporter of other women. Read and be inspired.
As our first Mum of the Month for 2018 can you share how you plan for the new year?
First let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year and the very best of 2018. For me planning for a new year begins from the previous year. As Socrates said, an unexamined life is not worth living. So I make it a point of duty to take some time out and review what the concluding year has been like. The successes I have achieved, failures I encountered, goals I met and dreams which have not be actualised. I also audit my finances, spiritual life and relationships. This audit provides the starting point for planning my new year.
With regards to setting goals, it basically depends on where I am in life and what I am trying to achieve. I also ensure that the goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.
Please tell us about yourself and what you are passionate about?
I am passionate about the social sector, an industry where I have worked in for over 20 years. I am mother and I am passionate about people and developing the potentials of the future generation.
What are the different hats that you wear?
First I am a child, I am a mother, I am a CEO, I am a change agent and I am a passionate Nigerian.
What Has Your Educational and Professional Journey Been Like?
I obtained my first degree in Sociology from the University Lagos and went further to obtain my Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University. Over the years, I have taken various certification courses within and outside the country as I make it a habit to constantly update myself and invest in knowledge acquisition yearly.
I have spent the last 19 years of my professional journey in the social sector through the areas of entrepreneurship, empowerment, health, education and leadership.
On Parenting as a single mum
It takes a “Village” to raise a child and I have been blessed and privileged to have a close knit “Village” who have assisted me in raising a wholesome child. In parenting as a single mum, the first thing I did was not to be afraid to ask for help when needed. I have also learnt to multi-task and wear various hats.
My son is my first priority and I have learnt to focus on first being his mother before anything else. I enjoy co-parenting which has helped a great deal in providing stability for my son.
“It is personal and I will like to keep that private, life happens and the most important thing is to rise up and move forward with grace”.
Your son has grown into an amazing teenager – can you share your success tips?
Thank you for the compliment. I believe that the first 10 years of a child’s life is the critical building block and at this stage I ensured that I inculcated in him the right beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviour. If you get this right, the next 10 years will entail correcting and re-molding these behaviours while keeping in mind that you are a parent for life. Till date my mum still corrects me and moulds me and shapes me and I do the same for my son.
How Do You Parent in the Era of Social Media?
Social media in itself is not bad, it is what we do with it that matters. Over the years, I have raised my son to be able to know the difference between right and wrong and as mentioned early, you parent for life. I ensure that I check in regularly, have meaningful conversations and also make sure I keep myself abreast with what is happening in the world.
How important is a support system to a mum today?
Every woman, every mother needs a support system because you cannot do it alone. A woman has various components that make up her life and her family still remains the most important. However, a mother certainly can’t give all areas of her life the same degree of attention, hence she needs support. Mothers needs support with the family and they come in the form of supportive partners, parents, friends, cousins or nannies. Support for mothers is sometimes also needed in their careers and other aspects that make their life complete.
Tell us in one word something you believe should not be missing from every home?
God, love, joy, laughter, unity. I know you said one, but I honestly couldn’t resist this.
Can you share how your extended family stays close and deals with differences?
I am the third child of eight kids; one boy and seven girls. We are all so different yet so alike it often amazes me. I don’t know how my mum did it but she did a great job raising us with God’s grace. We are all so close and practically communicate every single day. We share the same values and the love of God; this is how we were raised and how we have chosen to live our lives.
My parents taught us love, respect, truth and integrity not just to the world but amongst ourselves first and it has helped us to remain very close. We disagree a lot and have very strong opinions but they are just opinions – we come first so disagreeing passes really fast. I am grateful for the family I was born and raised in; I didn’t chose them but If I had the opportunity would definitely pick them over and over again.
As Maya Angelou says “The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humour and style and generosity and kindness.” So I thank God I have them to thrive with. They are my go to for everything, my prayer partners and my back bone.
How do you relax and spend time on yourself?
I love traveling, seeing the world and discovering new places. I also love reading a lot because it transports you to another world and opens you to a world of endless possibilities. I’m a “recovering spa addict” as well – somethings really do make you happy.
You always look so happy and everyone loves you! How have you become such a strong woman supporting other women along the way?
I don’t know about everyone loving me but Love begets love. I’m a people’s person and I genuinely am interested in people and helping them reach their full potentials. I believe in opening the door for other women to follow; because at the end of the day that is what matters. At the end of my life on earth, I want to leave a legacy of love for my generation.
If you were to share a quote with your younger self what would it be?
“I don’t want other people to decide who I am, I want to decide that for myself”.
What is the most important skill that Mums need?
Multi-tasking and the ability to wear various hats because as a Lagos mum you need to be a mother, doctor, best friend, teacher, pastor, cook, playmate, everything all rolled up into one.
Any final words or advise for LagosMums?
Be prayerful, be empowered so that you can provide for your children, the community and give them the best.